Opening back up

Barring another outbreak or surge, things are opening back up. This does not mean that you should stop being careful. Using safe best practices will help ensure that once things are open, they can stay that way. While many mask requirements are being lifted, using one is still allowed and probably a good idea. You may have heard that the statewide mask mandate has expired and wondered why you still have to wear one in a business. Last year, before the statewide mandate, businesses opened and were given best practices to adhere to. That is where we are now. Additionally, some local municipalities have their own mask orders. Their authorization and requirement to protect public health in their town or city allows them to do this. ~ Steve

All New Hampshire state employees to return to offices by May 10

‘We expect to be fully operational and in person,’ governor says


State government employees who have been working from home during the coronavirus pandemic will be back in their offices by May 10, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.

“All agencies are getting the same message, we’re not picking or choosing certain agencies or divisions or departments,” he said. “We expect to be fully operational and in person, with buildings open to the public, with public access for the business transactions that have to happen one on one.

While Sununu lifted the statewide mask mandate earlier this month, state offices remain subject to any municipal ordinances in their particular location, according to his office. The ordinance in Concord, however, where many state offices are located, only applies to retail businesses.

Individual workers can wear masks if they prefer, Sununu said.

“Obviously we always want them to feel safe, it’s always an option for them to have,” he said.

People on unemployment will need to show they’re job hunting

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Starting next month, New Hampshire is once again requiring that people receiving unemployment benefits be looking for work.

“Traditionally, you had to prove that you were searching for gainful employment while collecting unemployment benefits,” Gov. Chris Sununu said at a news conference Thursday. That was waived last year during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since, the economy has rebounded and New Hampshire has one of the lowest unemployment rates, at 3%. Starting May 23, residents are being required to look for work while on unemployment benefits. It doesn’t mean that if a person can’t find work, they will lose their benefits, Sununu said.

“There are tens of thousands of high-paying jobs across the state available today,” he said. “It’s just an awesome opportunity.” He said in one recent virtual job fair, there were over 100 employers offering more than 3,000 jobs, but only about 140 job seekers showed up.

Sununu said jobs need to be filled, especially in tourism-related areas, restaurants, hotels, and tech and manufacturing.

New Hampshire Works job centers will be opening to the public by May 10 to assist people. Job fairs are scheduled May 6 for veterans, May 11 for students, graduates and individuals using adult education programs, and May 13 for people in the construction industry.

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State Pauses J&J Vaccine

State Pauses J&J Vaccine, Won’t Slow Down Successful Roll Out

Concord, NH – The State of New Hampshire has announced a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine, consistent with the recommendation of the federal government.

This morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration recommended a pause on the use of the single-dose J&J COVID-19 vaccine after reports that six individuals in the U.S. developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks after vaccination.

The State of New Hampshire is working with all partners to ensure they are adjusting their operations to accommodate this pause.

“This news will not slow down New Hampshire,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “While the federal government has directed a brief pause in the J&J vaccine, the state is already working with our partners to ensure that they have an alternative supply of Pfizer or Moderna to help continue their efforts today.”

Currently, no state managed fixed sites are scheduled to hold Johnson and Johnson clinics.

Some Regional Public Health Networks were scheduled to provide Johnson & Johnson at clinics and to homebound populations today. The state is working with them to provide them with an alternative supply of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine so that their efforts do not slow down as a result of this pause.

Through the Federal Pharmacy Program, Walmart locations had planned to administer Johnson & Johnson today. All Walmart locations will have an alternative vaccine by 1pm today – if someone has an appointment after 1pm, they are encouraged to attend. If they have an appointment at Walmart before 1pm, they are welcome to visit any of the state-managed sites and their appointment will be honored.

This announcement is specific to the J&J COVID-19 vaccine and not related to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. We encourage people to continue with their scheduled appointments.

COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority and all reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination area taken very seriously. The CDC has indicated that those who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their healthcare provider.

COVID-19 Summary Report

(data updated as of April 12, 2021- 9:00 AM)

  • Number of Persons with COVID-191  89,229
  • Recovered     84,588 (95%)
  • Deaths Attributed to COVID-19  1,257 (1%)
  • Total Current COVID-19 Cases 3,384
  • Current Hospitalizations  118
  • Total Persons Tested at Selected Laboratories, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)2  675,941
  • Total Persons Tested at Selected Laboratories, Antibody Laboratory Tests2  39,026
  • Persons with Specimens Submitted to NH PHL  71,177
  • Persons with Test Pending at NH PHL3  132

1 Includes specimens positive at any laboratory and those confirmed by CDC confirmatory testing.

2 Includes specimens tested at the NH Public Health Laboratories (PHL), LabCorp, Quest, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Mako, certain hospital laboratories, the University of New Hampshire and their contracted laboratory, and those sent to CDC prior to NH PHL testing capacity.

3 Includes specimens received and awaiting testing at NH PHL. Does not include tests pending at commercial laboratories.

NH DHHS COVID-19 Update – April 12, 2021

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has issued the following update on the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
On Monday, April 12, 2021, DHHS announced 380 new positive test results for COVID-19, for a current PCR test positivity rate of 9.8%. Today’s results include 210 people who tested positive by PCR test and 170 who tested positive by antigen test. There are now 3,384 current COVID-19 cases diagnosed in New Hampshire. Of the results reported today:
 4/11: 380 new cases
Several cases are still under investigation. Additional information from ongoing investigations will be incorporated into future COVID-19 updates. Of those with complete information, there are sixty-two individuals under the age of 18 and the rest are adults with 53% being female and 47% being male.

The new cases reside in Rockingham (91), Hillsborough County other than Manchester and Nashua (56), Strafford (43), Belknap (31), Merrimack (30), Grafton (18), Cheshire (7), Sullivan (7), Carroll (6), and Coos (2) counties, and in the cities of Manchester (31) and Nashua (30).

The county of residence is being determined for twenty-eight new cases.
Community-based transmission continues to occur in the State and has been identified in all counties.

Of those with complete risk information, most of the cases have either had close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis or have recently traveled.
There are currently 118 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. In New Hampshire since the start of the pandemic, there have been a total of 89,229 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed.

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Insurance Commissioner Sends Letter to Federal Agencies Requesting Recalculation of 1332 Waiver Pass-through Funding

Insurance Commissioner Sends Letter to Federal Agencies Requesting Recalculation of 1332 Waiver Pass-through Funding
Concord, NH – This week, New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Chris Nicolopoulos sent a letter to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and the U.S. Department of Treasury regarding changes to pass-through funding estimates for 1332 state-based reinsurance programs following the passage of the American Rescue Plan.
“New Hampshire’s 1332 Waiver program was designed to promote stability in the individual market and increase affordability for consumers. I signed this letter to request that CMS and the Treasury re-calculate the estimate of our pass-through funding amount to ensure it is accurate for the 2021 plan year. The implementation of the American Rescue Plan will increase enrollment and change the amount of pass-through funding New Hampshire receives. Recalculating the pass-through funds is keeping in the spirit of the 1332 Waiver by improving predictability in the New Hampshire insurance market.”
The letter was also signed by insurance commissioners of other states operating under 1332 Waivers.
“Preserving and stabilizing New Hampshire’s individual health insurance market has been a key priority for the New Hampshire Insurance Department,” said Deputy Insurance Commissioner D.J. Bettencourt. Our previous efforts, in coordination with Governor Sununu, have kept our state’s three current insurance companies in the market, have lowered premiums for three consecutive years, and has saved taxpayers significant amounts of money. The American Rescue Plan took several important steps to further bolster the individual market but recalculate state pass through amounts to account for the additional federal savings will help us lower costs further.”
The letter can be found here.
The New Hampshire Insurance Department Can HelpThe New Hampshire Insurance Department’s mission is to promote and protect the public good by ensuring the existence of a safe and competitive insurance marketplace through the development and enforcement of the insurance laws of the State of New Hampshire. Contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your insurance coverage at1‐800‐ 852‐3416 or (603) 271‐2261, or by email at For more information, visit

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